Our community is known as one of the safest and most welcoming neighborhoods in the city. We are home to long-time residents and people not only new to the area, but recent immigrants to the United States.
We have a large LGBTQ population and a large number of residents originally from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia who are members of the Muslim faith, and we live side by side without incident.
In the wake of the horrific shooting incident in Orlando, I believe it is important that communities throughout the country take the time to reflect on the tragedies that occur all too often in our nation, the mass shootings that are the result of the availability of military class weaponry available to almost anyone.
Whether the perpetrators are mentally unbalanced or warped through extremist views and hatred, tragedies on the scale of Orlando would not occur without the availability of assault rifles, whose sole purpose is the taking of life.
If you agree that we cannot continue to allow the proliferation of these types of weapons in our communities, consider sending an email to our State elected officials encouraging them to work toward the goal of gun control.
The slaughter in Orlando could just as well have occurred in our community over the weekend at the Midsommarfest on Clark Street. I spoke with our local Commander at the 20th District on Sunday morning and he and Capt. Penny Trahanas, who was the acting commander on Sunday, increased the police presence and she came to the fest herself to make sure that their presence was evident.
It is an unfortunate reality that while religious inspired hatred or bigotry continues to influence individuals to commit acts of unspeakable violence, our government continues to look the other way at the guns that allow the violence to take on a magnitude that would otherwise be unachievable. And Sunday’s massacre is a reminder that while we have made great strides in the area of human rights for our citizenry, including the LGBTQ community, we must continue to be vigilant and aware of continuing threats of violence.
If 50 people had died from Ebola and 53 others were stricken, the government would mobilize to protect all of us from further harm to the furthermost extent possible. Is this gun violence inspired by terror or hatred and bigotry any less an epidemic?
For your convenience, below is contact information of elected officials in Illinois who can help in the goal of passing sensible gun related legislation:
Governor Bruce Rauner
United States Senator Dick Durbin
Congressman Mike Quigley, 5th Congressional District
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, 9th Congressional District
Illinois State Senator Heather Steans, 7th Senate District
Illinois State Senator Ira Silverstein, 8th Senate District
State Representative Greg Harris, 13th District
State Representative Kelly Cassidy, 14th District
State Representative Lou Lang, 16th District
Ald. Pat O’Connor